Keep up with key trends in Licensing as 500px’s Senior Art Director, Karen Biilmann, analyzes common themes in commercial photography and advertising. From working remotely to online discos, here’s what’s trending in commercial photography.

When the world stops, the party doesn’t.

The show must go… online? As celebrations, reunions, and any semblance of a nightlife have been canceled or postponed around the world, our new reality is shifting into focus.

For many of us, social distancing measures have been bittersweet. Some are helping us to slow down our everyday activities and focus on self-care, and many people feel invigorated by the challenge and are using it as an opportunity to reconnect with relationships that may have grown stale over the years.

While this does little to alleviate some of the stress associated with the direction of current news headlines, or the discomfort in knowing someone we love is sick, there is one theme that we can all recognize, which has made social distancing bearable: technology.

Young female women taking selfie laying in bed by Carina König on

Companies have accelerated their technology pathways forward, now more than ever. Mindful tech has also now been integrated into a variety of critical roles, as we innovate and evolve our lifestyles during a time where we have limited physical and social interactions.

At the forefront of this motivation is how technology can contribute to our human experience. According to the Technology Vision Consumer Survey, conducted before our life in quarantine began, 52% of consumers said that technology played a prominent role and is ingrained in their daily activities. This has only been accelerated during these formative months of 2020.

Young adult businesswoman working with digital tablet by Carina König on

We are all looking for connection and entertainment, but have begun a slight shift from our mobile devices, leaning more on computers now that they are accessible as we are hunkered down at home.

According to SimilarWeb and Apptopia, two online data providers, our tech usage has shifted as social distancing has pushed us toward our devices for our social livelihoods.

_DSC9978.JPG by Rachel Kennedy on

With nearly all public gatherings and celebrations canceled for the foreseeable future, the once seedy underbelly of online culture, live streaming and webcam services have become mainstream technology that is revolutionizing the way we globally connect at scale.

While traditional social media sites have been growing in user traffic, as human beings, we want to do more than just message one another, we want to SEE one another. Online apps such as the popular Houseparty (app) saw a staggering lift in use of over 79% during the month of March. Houseparty not only allows you to message your friends, but also jump on a video call, meet new people, and play games right within the application.

Jour 15 #ApertureLock by Alexander J.E. Bradley on

We have also become more reliant on services that allow us to work from home. Offices and schools have now moved into our living rooms, basements, and home offices.

As a result, online webcam services have seen a huge lift in users such as Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, but most notably, Zoom, seeing an almost 3.5 million active user increase over the month of March.

However, Zoom has not only been used to facilitate business meetings and online work, but has quickly grown a following for family and friend communication, as well as the rise of online discos, and may very well influence the way in which we participate and celebrate different milestones throughout the remainder of the year.

Young man with laptop works from home by Dmitry Travnikov on

There is also a movement growing amongst the Queer community, inviting people to participate in virtual discos during the Coronavirus pandemic. Club Quarantine has been picked up by a variety of news outlets labeling it as an “antidote” to self-isolation. Part social media therapy, part digital indulgence, Club Quarantine has caught the eye of party-goers around the world, featuring the likes of cult British DJ and pop superstar Charli XCX.

They have also played host to drag shows by Queens Kasper and West Dakota, as well as performance art by those lucky enough to be featured during this Zoom conference.

There is no dress code, it’s accessible, and everyone around the world is invited—in true LGBTQI+ fashion. We are riding the wave of inclusivity and turning to the interweb to make those connections.

Young DJ woman in a night party by Sol Vazquez Cantero on

We also see a number of companies jumping onto the at-home wellness movement and adding a more robust online presence to promote active lifestyle choices, encouraging people to retain physical routines and fitness.

Fitbit, for example, offers virtual challenges that you can use to compete amongst your friends or other Fitbit users. Apps such as Classpass, have begun to host virtual classes online to retain active users, but also provide easy and accessible at-home workouts so our summer 2020 fitness goals don’t have to be completely tossed out the window.

Attractive sporty woman working out at home, doing pilates exercise in by Matej Kastelic on

Technology is now so accessible, easy to use, and so integrated with our wellbeing, that it has become an extension of ourselves.

With businesses focused on integrating tech into how they build long-lasting user relationships, as well as the increased focus on how technology can aid connection, the need for images showing people using technology and different devices in a variety of scenarios has presented itself.

DSC by Kalik Osborne on

As people that contribute to a global community, we refuse to acknowledge the whisper of “cancel-culture” or accept that 2020 has been canceled. As creatives, advertisers, marketers, and human beings, we have found new avenues to express our individuality and embrace what makes us different, while uniting together, online.

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